The Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas (NAPPSA) has called on the government to as a matter of urgency invest in building a strong health infrastructure in the country.
This call was made in Abuja when the association donated coronavirus pandemic diagnostics, PPEs and other medical consumables to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The donations underscored the associations continued efforts at assisting the country overcome the virus.
NAPPSA said COVID-19 has revealed the systemic weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the nation’s healthcare sector that must be fixed immediately if Nigeria must play a leading role in the global health and pharmaceutical enterprise.
According to the association, nations with strong healthcare infrastructure and a solid manufacturing base are beginning to take advantage of the opportunity presented by the pandemic to tap into the global medical and pharmaceutical products supply chain, following the collapse of China’s near monopoly in that sector.
Speaking at the official presentation of the donated items to NCDC, President of NAPPSA, Dr Anthony Ikeme, who was represented by Dr Ali Onoja, said, We regret that Nigeria counts among the nations that missed out on the opportunities presented by the truncation of the global medical and pharmaceutical supply chain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Dr Ikeme, The lessons from the pandemic should inform our decisions going into the future. There is an urgent need for investment in the creation of robust protocols for preparedness, prevention and containment of pandemics as well as their related economic and social impacts.
NAPPSA, while thanking NCDC for its vital role in coordinating the country’s COVID-19 response, encouraged the Centre and other stakeholders in healthcare delivery to use their positions to facilitate the creation of a national strategy for medical and pharmaceutical manufacturing in Nigeria not only as a way to prepare for future health emergencies but also to position the country to earn foreign revenue as an alternative source for medical and pharmaceutical supply.
The diaspora body assured that it would continue to partner with relevant local stakeholders, including healthcare-related associations, government agencies, and others in the area of information and knowledge sharing and global best practices, among others to ensure Nigeria achieves self-sufficiency in medical and pharmaceutical product manufacture and supply.
Director-General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, who received the donations, thanked NAPPSA for the gesture, even as he assured that NCDC is willing to collaborate with NAPPSA and other related professional bodies in diaspora to engender a strong health sector.
Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who was at the event, also commended NAPPSA for the donation. She said it is a gesture that is worthy of emulation.